Mature graduates′ reasons for choosing degree courses and subsequent careers are examined, focusing on their destinations after graduation. The study is based on replies from 1,345 older graduates who completed full‐time degree courses in 1987 and 1989. The findings show that the prime motivator for choosing courses was interest in academic subjects, while the most important consideration in choosing a career was job satisfaction. Mature graduates are more inclined than younger colleagues to pursue postgraduate study and public sector employment. The majority of the respondents were satisfied with career progress to date and optimistic about future prospects. They indicated that they felt religious and voluntary organisations, education authorities and local government were more favourably disposed towards older candidates, while they gave public utilities, the media, financial and commercial organisations a low rating. Their recommendations included the abolition of age limits, specific mention of mature graduates in brochures, application forms amended to suit their needs and better selection interview training for interviewers.
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